It’s almost September, and that kind of means nothing to me. For the first time since I can remember, I’m not going back to school this week. I’m actually pretty bummed about it, but this time next year I will either be gearing up to move to Scotland or recently arrived, so I guess it’ll all be okay in the end.
Technically summer is not actually over for another few weeks, but I can’t help but see the end of August as the end of the season, since I’ve always started school in early September. So this seemed like an appropriate time to share with you my summer beauty favourites.
I believe I’ve mentioned in passing a few times my love for Revlon Nearly Naked foundation. It had light-to-medium coverage, a lightweight consistency, and a really great natural finish. I much preferred it to its thick, full coverage cousin Revlon ColorStay. I was devastated when NN was discontinued. The much-hyped MUFE Ultra HD reminds me a lot Nearly Naked. It has pretty good coverage but still looks natural; it’s lightweight and watery compared to foundations like, say, Rimmel Lasting Finish, and I like how it looks on my skin.
The real winner, though, is the combination of MUFE Ultra HD and the Real Techniques Stippling Brush. I had one I liked using to apply pigmented blushes, and decided to get another one for foundation. I’ve spent the last year applying foundation with my fingers, and before that was a devout knockoff Beauty Blender user. But I love the way this brush applies this particular foundation. It doesn’t go on too thick, and it’s super easy and quick to blend it all out with stippling motions. I do like this foundation with the RT Buffing Brush too, but there’s just something about the finish I get with the Stippling Brush that I truly love.
I recently won the Glossier Haloscape in Quartz in Renee‘s giveaway. I was pretty jazzed about this because a) winning things is nice, and b) Glossier doesn’t ship to Canada (yet). Like many others, I’m not a massive fan of Glossier’s cool-girl branding, but I have been curious about some of the products thanks to all the hype. I’m not sure if there’s anything else I’d purchase myself if and when they do open up their international shipping, but I’m so glad I have the Haloscope.
I spent August 5 to 21 in front of my television whenever I wasn’t sleeping or working. I’m really serious about the Olympics. I actually packed a makeup bag full of stuff to keep in my living room so that I could get ready for work without leaving the television. As such, I used the Haloscape every day that I put on makeup. This is the product that has made me realize that cream is my favourite format for highlighter. It’s just so easy to swipe on (straight from the tube) and blend out with a few taps. And, I mean, the glow is real:
So real that I just assumed it would distract you from that zit, and declined to photoshop it out.
Highlighter is one of those options that I could take or leave, so I love having a product that is easy to apply, requires no brushes, and makes a huge impact.
I will admit that I’m not a huge fan of Kat Von D the human. (Although, let’s be real, her video about Jeffree Star was incredibly satisfying to watch.) And if the UD Naked Ultimate Basics had been announced six weeks later, I would have bought that. But instead I bought the Kat Von D Shade & Light Eye Contour Palette, because lately I’ve been very into mattes for the first time in my life, and I don’t regret it for a second. These eyeshadows are every bit as high quality as everyone says, and I love all the colours on my skintone. The middle of those larger pans is the perfect subtle contour shade for me. I also love the large pan on the right. That peach shade is great for blending out around the edges. And of course, the deep rusty shade is stunning. I honestly think that between this palette and my LORAC Pro, I could probably be set for neutral eyeshadows. However, I will continue to own many unnecessary palettes because I want to.
I bought NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Callisto at the end of May, and I absolutely love it. It’s a silvery pink eyeshadow with the most ridiculous shine. Seriously, you need to see it in motion to understand:
The whole point of the Dual Intensity shadows is that you can use them wet or dry. I personally have not tried Callisto wet, because I can’t imagine it looking even more amazing than it does dry. One day I will test this thesis. One day I will also use it as a highlighter and probably have my mind blown.
There’s nothing like a good eyelash curler to make your lashes look amazing, is there? I’m glad I dropped the big bucks on this Tweezerman Classic Lash Curler, because it curls my lashes much more effectively than the cheapy Walmart brand one I’d been using previously. And Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara has been my go-to. Waterproof mascara isn’t my usual bag, but it’s nice when I’m hot and sweaty, and I adore what it does for my lashes:
I’ve always been into length over volume, and this is probably the best lengthening mascara I’ve ever used. It may have even dethroned the original Lancôme Hypnôse for my favourite absurdly expensive mascara that I would in no way ever spend actual money on. (Truly Waterproof was a gift from a friend.)
Its wand is quite standard, like so:
Generally I go for cool lipstick colours because I like them better on myself. But this summer my two favourite lip colours are quite warm. The first is NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte, which is the first peach I’ve ever truly liked on myself. It’s a bit deeper – peaches with white bases are absolute no-gos for me – and has just a hint of brown. It was my go-to neutral colour this summer. I like the formula, too: I didn’t find it overly drying, and it lasted well. I’m not sure that it’s worth $39, but I bought it with Optimum points so I don’t really care anyway. (My one very pedantic criticism is that I always think of Brigitte Bardot with more of a pale nude lip than a deeper warm peach, but I found a lot of pictures of her wearing peach lipstick, so I will eat my words.)
When I wanted a bit more colour, I pulled out an old favourite: Revlon Balm Stain in Romantic, a sheer, warm red. I don’t think they even make this colour anymore. I bought it way back at the beginning of my interest in makeup – at the time I couldn’t have had more than 5 lip colours total. The few times I’ve tried to make opaque warm reds work on myself, I have hated them and given them away. But there’s something about the sheerness and slight shine of Romantic that I really like, and that gets me compliments every time I wear it.
Brigitte is on the left in this picture; Romantic is on the right. They actually look really similar in this swatch; in real life Brigitte is more peach and Romantic is more red. But you can see that I really knew what I liked this summer!
I used to have incredibly strong, thick, unbendable nails. Around two years ago, they started peeling. I’m not sure if this had to do with the fact that I stopped drinking like 75 litres of milk a day around that time, or because I started a job that required using my hands a lot around that time, or something else entirely. Witchcraft Be Strong Protein Hardener is a base coat that has really helped cut the peeling down. As for specific nail colours, I’m loving Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Rosy Outlook, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Pacific Blue (though I’m having to ration it since I only have two bottles left), Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Sugar Fix, Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Barracuda, and Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in Kiwi. These are some of my favourite nail polish colours ever, come to think of it. Also, I really like blue. And Sally Hansen.
Light Blue Shade is the best blonde shampoo I’ve ever tried, and it’s under $10 Canadian. Contrary to its name, it’s actually a deep purple, and it’s incredibly effective at fighting brassiness. Normally my hair will take on some yellow after some time without toner has elapsed, even with a purple shampoo. Here, compare a picture of my hair somewhere between toning cycles using another shampoo with my hair today:
The last time I did my roots and toned my hair was approximately 5 weeks ago, so we’re halfway through my usual cycle and still this platinum. And that’s using my DIY Manic Panic concoction instead of a more potent developer-based toner. Needless to say, I love this stuff a stupid amount.
And that is it for my summer favourites! I hope you all had a great summer and that if you’re embarking on a new school year it goes well for you.
This month over on Canadian Beauty Bloggers, the theme is Budget Beauty. Although I obviously like to indulge in higher end purchases, my love for makeup started at the drugstore. I’ve really slowed down on my makeup spending in the past year, but I’m always popping my head into the drugstore aisles just to see what’s new. These days more than ever, there’s some good stuff for great prices (although drugstore prices do seem to be going up). So here’s a collection of some of my tried and true, all time favourite drugstore products.
Sleek Blushes perform so well – they are pigmented and blendable and come in some really gorgeous colours. Flushed, a deep reddish berry, is my favourite at this time of year, but in the summer I always reach for Guipure, a warm pink with gold shimmer. Sleek isn’t available in stores in North America, but they do ship worldwide!
Staying in the UK, Topshop makeup in general has impressed me, but the Glow Highlighter in Polished is one of my favourite makeup products ever. If you’re looking for the perfect pearly, iridescent, slightly unnatural highlighter, this is the one for you. Again, this product can be purchased online!
Rimmel Stay Matte Powder is a staple in my makeup bag; it does the job and it’s dirt cheap. Another boring yet essential product is L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Concealer, which does a remarkably good job at concealing my undereye circles without feeling heavy. It’s good on blemishes in a pinch, too.
I probably don’t need to mention this, but Maybelline Color Tattoos are the drugstore cream shadow, as far as I’m concerned. (I picked up one of the new stick versions and I’m very excited to put it to the test!)
I’ve also probably talked the Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in Silent Treatment to death, but the fact is that it’s the only drugstore powder eyeshadow I ever use. Quality-wise, it far surpasses its $2.99 price point, and that taupe-y purple eyelid colour is one of my favourites of all time. (It’s also a very on-trend colour, which can be yours for the cost of a coffee!)
Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Eye Definer is a great twist-up eyeliner option. It’s easy to use, very pigmented, and stays put as well as anything else I’ve tried. For more colourful options, I love the Annabelle Kohl Eyeliners – for a wooden pencil I find them very smooth, and the colour range is great.
Ahh, I know a thing or two about lip products. The Maybelline Color Sensation Creamy Matte Lipsticks are probably the best matte lip colour I’ve found at the drugstore (perhaps excluding liquid lipsticks), though depending on the shade the Revlon Matte Balms come close. (Sultry is my favourite.) In terms of regular (non-matte) lipsticks, I will adore the Rimmel Lasting Finish By Kate Moss line forever. They’re so comfortable, creamy, and opaque. One of the matte shades is pictured above, and though I do like the matte line I think the regular line (in the black tubes) is superior.
Lip liner-wise, Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Lip Liner is one of my favourite formulas; I regularly use Red Diva, East End Snob, and Enchantment. (I’ve been through quite a few East End Snobs!) When it comes to UK brands, it doesn’t get much cheaper than Collection, and their Lip Definers are great. If only I could get my hands on more colours while in Canada!
Of course, my makeup collection comprises many more drgustore products than I’ve featured here – but these are the best of the best, in my opinion. NYX has finally come to Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix, so I anticipate a frenzy of testing on my part in the near future. Stay tuned!
You guys are probably bracing yourselves for a flood of these posts, so let’s skip the lengthy introduction and get right into it. These products were not necessarily launched in 2015, but I discovered each of them this year.
LORAC Pro palette
I may just be the last person on earth to discover this palette – but timing notwithstanding, I’m glad I did. From the moment it came into my possession this summer, I’ve scarcely put it down. I firmly believe that it’s the perfect neutral palette – every shade is pigmented and blendable, there’s an even mixture of mattes and shimmers, and there are the standard neutral colours and a few interesting ones. Without a doubt if I could only have one palette it would be this one. My only complaint is that LORAC is so hard to get ahold of in Canada!
MAC 217 brush
I know there are people who don’t think this brush lives up to its hype, but clearly I’m not one of them. I didn’t realize how inadequate the blending brush I had was until this one came into my life this summer. I feel like a good blending brush is one of the most important makeup tools a person can have in their arsenal, and this is the best one I’ve used so far.
Lancôme Hypnôse mascara
I hate when absurdly-priced products are actually good, don’t you? I’m viscerally opposed to paying Sephora prices for mascara; there are good options at the drugstore, samples are aplenty, and I cannot make myself pay $30+ for something that’s supposed to be thrown out after three months. I got this as a gift from my wonderful friend Kristin, and it really is as good as everyone says. You may know from previous mascara reviews that mascara does not excite me; I rarely hate them and I rarely love them. So for this to wow me really means something. It builds volume and length effortlessly and is not the least bit clumpy. It also doesn’t flake or smudge under my eyes at all. Basically, it’s totally worth the hype. Would I pay full price for it? No. Would I spend Shoppers Optimum points to get it again? Yes. Definitely.
Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil
Black eye pencils are obviously a staple in most people’s makeup routines, but it can be difficult to find the right one. I’ve struggled to find one that was opaque, soft, smooth, and that actually stayed put. This one is perfect for tightlining as it absolutely does not transfer onto my lower waterline at all, and it takes forever to fade. The texture is perfect – it glides on comfortably and doesn’t scratch my delicate eyes. And it is truly a rich, opaque black. All in all, this is seriously the perfect black pencil.
NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Cruella
Have you ever tried an oft-talked-about beauty product and thought, “Yep, I get it now”? That was my experience with this lip product. Obviously, most of us North American beauty lovers are now in possession of a mini of it thanks to the Sephora birthday gift – and can I just say, what a great birthday gift it is! 2013 and 2014’s offerings didn’t do much for me, but this one was legitimately great. There is nothing I don’t love about Cruella. The colour is dramatic and beautiful; it glides on so smoothly (and accurately, thanks to the shape of the pencil); it lasts forever. The moment I put it on my lips I thought Where have you been all my life?
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes
I was not a fan of the much-hyped Ambient Lighting Powders, but the blushes are worth every penny of their $41 CAD price tag. Never have I encountered such soft, blendable, long-lasting blushes with the perfect level of pigmentation and the slightly glow-y effect afforded by the swirls of ALPs throughout the pan. I just wish they’d bring out more shades! (Since taking this picture I’ve added another one to my collection, which means there’s only one colour left that I really want. Please expand the line, Hourglass!!!)
This is the most-loved highlighter in my collection; it works so well with my fair, cool skin and is simply gorgeous on its own. It’s pearlescent and ethereal and I will never stop loving it. A makeup product hasn’t excited me this much in ages.
Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream
I purchased this night cream for only £4 – bargain! However, even at its full price of £8, it’s hardly prohibitively expensive. I reviewed it positively about six weeks into using it, and having finished the tub I can say that I would absolutely repurchase it if I could get it here in Canada! My face always felt soft, smooth, supple, and healthy in the mornings when I was using this, which is no small feat considering I’m chronically dry. The smell was also divine. If I make it back to the UK I will be popping into Boots posthaste to get another tub of this!
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum
This serum made such a huge difference when used under my night cream. Whereas most people seem to suffer from oiliness in their T-zone, my nose is absolutely parched and flaky year-round. This serum has been extremely effective at combatting this particular problem, but it’s still a lightweight texture that sinks in instantly. I absolutely adore it and will most likely repurchase it when I run out.
I adore this cleanser. I adore that although it contains oils it’s a creamy texture, meaning it’s not as messy to use as a regular oil. I adore how well it gets my makeup off. I adore that it washes off easily without leaving an oily film on my skin. I adore how supple and hydrated it makes my skin. I adore the smell. It’s the best cleanser I’ve ever used, and I do not say that lightly!
This is another product that I did not want to like on the basis of its price ($46 CAD), but I really do love it. For such a lightweight, unobtrusive texture, it does a great job at keeping my perpetually chapped lips looking and feeling reasonable. It’s effective on its own during the day, and at night I like to seal it in with a layer of Vaseline to trap all that moisture. I always wake up with the softest lips!
I was sceptical about this product’s ability to perform well enough to do something about my KP-ravaged arms and legs considering its thin texture. And while it does sink in quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy or sticky cast, somehow it manages to do to my legs what almost no other body product has.
This sunscreen is the perfect product for a) lazy people who hate spending more than 20 seconds applying sunscreen to their bodies, b) people who hate the greasy feeling most sunscreens leave, or c) all of the above. This sunscreen is singlehandedly responsible for my skin getting not a lick of sun this summer.
L’Occitane Almond Oil
If it looks like I haven’t touched this bottle, it’s because I haven’t! I’ve already used up a mini, and I finally treated myself to a full size bottle the other day. I feel a bit silly dropping $24 on almond oil, but it is that good. I use it to shave my legs, and despite it being on my skin for only a fleeting moment before being washed off, I swear my legs feel amazing straight out of the shower. And you only need the tiniest bit, so $24 CAD goes a long, long way. This is one of those products that is undeniably an indulgence – but it’s one of my favourite indulgences ever.
You guys are probably sick of me talking about how damaged my hair is. I’m stubborn and continue bleaching my roots every few months, and one day my hair will all fall out of my head at once, but that day is being delayed by this hair mask. My hair actually, miraculously, feels smooth, soft, and alive when I use this (which is every time I wash my hair, because otherwise I can’t run a brush through it). It’s nothing short of a miracle. And at only $10 for a 500mL tub, I don’t even feel bad buying it.
2015 was a great year in terms of beauty discoveries – I found some fun things as well as some things that have become can’t-live-without-it, would-follow-it-into-hell staples in my beauty stash. Not too bad!
I’m working non-stop this month (ah, retail in December), so I’m not sure if I’ll have another post for you guys before 2016. In the event that this is my last post of 2015, I hope your holidays are relaxing and fun and your new year brings you only good things!